Roberta Pergher

Assistant Professor, Department of History

Department of History

IU, IU Bloomington

Full Biography

I grew up in Italy and came to the US in the mid-1990s to attend college. After earning a BA and MA from the University of Denver, I pursued a PhD in History at the University of Michigan. My dissertation explored how Mussolini’s Fascist regime attempted to Italianize two recently conquered territories – the border province South Tyrol in the very North and the colony of Libya across the Mediterranean to the South. I found that the Fascist endeavor to incorporate these two very different regions came to depend on the same policy: the settlement of Italian families. The actual settlers, however, were often driven by motivations that ran counter to those of state and party.

Fascist Italy’s drive to incorporate and administer contested territories is now at the center of my book project, titled Fascist Borderlands: Nation, Empire and Italy's Settlement Program, 1922-1943. It explores the tensions and ambiguities inherent in the construction of nation and empire, and the particular solutions that the Fascists envisioned and enacted in order to secure and legitimate their rule.

My next project analyzes how Italy and Austria fought each other in the First World War. I explore the frontline along Alpine cliffs and its meaning for the soldiers as well as for the people living in the valleys below. Tentatively titled The Battle for the High Ground: Nationalism, Technology, and Nature on the Alpine Front in World War I, the book will build on memoirs, military sources, photographs, and on-site visits.

Honors and Awards

  • Elizabeth and J. Richardson Dilworth Fellow, School of Historical Studies, Institute for Advance Study, Princeton, Spring 2013
  • Max Weber Fellow, European University Institute, Florence, Italy, 2008-2009
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Eisenberg Institute for Historical Studies, University of Michigan, 2007-2008

Research Interests

  • Modern Europe with an emphasis on Italy and Germany
  • Fascism
  • Imperialism
  • Migration and population settlement
  • Borderlands
  • Comparative and transnational history


  • Ph.D. at University of Michigan, 2007
  • M.A. International Studies, University of Denver, 2000
  • B.A. Economics and Women’s Studies, University of Denver, 1998

Courses Taught

  • Modern Europe
  • Inside Nazi Germany
  • European Empires
  • World War I



  • In the Society of Fascists: Acclamation, Acquiescence and Agency. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012 (edited volume, with Giulia Albanese).

Articles and Book Chapters

  • “Settlement, Sovereignty, and Social Engineering. Fascist Settlement Policy between Nation and Empire,” in Settlers in Contested Lands, edited by Oded Haklai and Neophytos Loizides (Stanford University Press, 2015), 75-96.
  • “The Ethics of Consent—Regime and People in the Historiographies of Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany,” Contemporary European History 24, no. 2 (2015), 309-315.
  • “Italy’s Colonial Past,” in Routledge Handbook of Contemporary Italy: History, Politics, and Society, edited by A. Mammone, E. G. Parini and G. A. Veltri (New York: Routledge, 2015), 327-337.
  • “The Holocaust—An Imperial Genocide?,” coauthored with Mark Roseman, Dapim—Studies on the Holocaust 27, no. 1 (2013), 42–49.
  • “Historians, Fascism, and Italian Society: Mapping the Limits of Consent,” co-authored with Giulia Albanese, in In the Society of Fascists, edited by Giulia Albanese and Roberta Pergher (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012), 1-28.
  • “The Consent of Memory. Recovering Fascist- Settler Relations in Libya,” in In the Society of Fascists, edited by Giulia Albanese and Roberta Pergher (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012), 169-188.
  • “Staging the Nation in Fascist Italy’s ‘New Provinces’,” Austrian History Yearbook 43 (2012): 98–115.